Alternating diet could reduce inflammation and atherosclerosis

Researchers demonstrated that alternating a 3 day high cholesterol diet with a 4 day cholesterol-free diet can effectively reduce inflammation, cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease. Researchers from TNO and University Medical Centre Groningen found these results in mice. The alternating cholesterol diet could be an easier way for at risk populations to reduce their risk profile than a completely low cholesterol diet.

The results lead scientists to expect that the alternating cholesterol diet would have similar results in humans and in mice. However, the alternating cholesterol diet study in mice does need to be verified in humans. The study results were published in PLoS ONE.

Currently, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in industrialized countries. A healthy diet and exercise can strongly reduce one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Compliance with strict dietary measures is difficult for many. Being able to switch between a healthy and less healthy meals could bring longer term compliance within reach.

Peter Wielinga, project leader at TNO, describes the study concept: “The alternating diet concept is based on results on caloric restriction in humans. We investigated whether or not a much milder lifestyle adaptation would work and used cholesterol exposure as a model. The study shows that alternating 3 days high cholesterol with 4 days cholesterol- free diet offers most of the benefits of a continuous cholesterol-free diet.”

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